Making a Roadside Pilgrimage to America’s Oldest City, in Acoma, NM
A weathered sign near Albuquerque beckons “Visit Acoma, America’s Oldest City,” Irresistibly pulled down a deserted, dusty road, the sort leaving you wondering “Have I enough gas?” or “Did I miss a turn?” Acoma appears: impossibly perched on a monumental mesa, seemingly plopped down from outer space. Foothold-only access repelled marauders from 700 AD until Coronado arrived in1540. Disappointed, he reputedly mistook this for one of the fabled Seven Cities of Gold, due to glinting window “glass,” mica. Fourteen clans bring all the town's water up the 1929-era road that Paramount built for filming Wing Foot to electricity-less adobes, passed mother to youngest daughter. Those who take this detour witness Acoma’s enigma: a sacred, yet modern respect for natural resources.